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National fails on critical school building needs

Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up with overcrowded schools squarely at the Government’s feet.

“Over-crowded classrooms are causing many schools to teach students in libraries, gymnasiums, school halls and outside spaces because there are simply too many students.

“A Ministry of Education report shows 40 Auckland schools are over capacity and another 127 are at risk of overcrowding.

“The report states that Auckland is facing critical pressures. It predicts a million more people living in the city by 2040 leading to some 107,000 additional students enrolling at schools.

“Auckland is also not alone. National roll projections show that in the short term almost 10,000 more kids will be showing up at our school gates across the country each year with more than 200 schools identified as over capacity.

“National claims infrastructure is a top priority – that’s just not credible four months from the election. And this report sums it up.

“Prime Minister Bill English has simply not invested enough money to keep up with the growing population pressures.

“For example, in 2014 National announced a $350m investment in Auckland schools to ‘get ahead of demand’ and avoid serious capacity issues, yet three years on and they’ve only spent $107m of that funding.

“The smoke and mirrors in tomorrow’s Budget won’t make up for years of under investment in the New Zealand education system.

“As a Dad I want the best for my son and all our Kiwi kids because classes are just too big.

“Labour wants New Zealand to be a successful country, so we’ll make investment in education a priority. National has had nine years to get on top of this and has failed. It’s time for a fresh approach,” says Andrew Little.